The other night a realization came to me. I’ve been emotional eating. I’ve been eating things to make me feel good. It’s always temporary but it feels good for a few moments. That is usually eventually followed by a period of regret and an oh-well-surrender and brush off. I’ve allowed myself to eat a toll house cookie ice cream sandwich, a (BIG) bag of homemade chocolate toffee crunch, cookies, popcorn (twice), endless chips and crackers and that was just through the weekend. Come Sunday night after hearing my young son tell me, “Mom, stop eating junk!” and later conversations about how eating junk is going to make you fat followed by my retort, I’m already fat. It dawned on me that something was wrong with this picture. And has been for a while.
I have given myself breaks when dealing with challenging times to allow myself comfort in food. A few months ago I realized this is a control issue; life feels out of control but I can control the food I eat and I can choose to eat things that make me feel good.
But there is something inherently wrong with this (although I buy into it constantly). The problem is that anything that makes you feel good temporarily and is followed by remorse, regret, guilt and/or shame cannot be good for me. It just can’t be. No matter how good it feels to take a bite of that toll house cookie ice cream sandwich… I know I will eventually regret it. And sometimes the draw of “feeling good”, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes, is so strong it’s hard to describe and I give in.
Ah but I digress… about my breakthrough thought. When I feel bad about myself; whether it’s guilt, shame, regret or any other negative feeling I start to close myself off from the world. I literally feel myself starting to shrink within myself. I’ve been living here for a couple of weeks; which could explain my anxiety/stress eczema that I’ve had for two weeks. I don’t want to reach out to others, I don’t want to smile and say hello to people, I just want to do what I need to do wherever I am and get the heck out of there as quickly as possible. I become anti-social because I am (subconsciously) ashamed of myself. I don’t feel that people would want to see me or talk to me. I dimmed my light.
Not surprisingly at the very same time I feel disconnected from God. You see, I can’t withdraw from people in the world only. I withdraw from everyone and everything. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been feeling my connection to God lessening. And I know with absolute certainty that this is NOT because God isn’t as present as He was before. I know that my feelings of disconnect are completely my responsibility. I don’t feel worthy of His attention, His time, His love. I don’t. I am too busy feeling guilty, ashamed, embarrassed to allow myself to feel open to receive anything He has to give. When I realized this last night I knew something had to change as quickly as possible.
I decided to get up early to workout. I prayed on it, I asked God to help me deal with whatever is holding me back from receiving Him completely. I asked for His guidance in helping me push through this obstacle.
I got up early. It was dark, rainy and cold. I stayed in my warm blanket on my bed. I got up to use the bathroom, considered changing into workout clothes then went back to bed. I lay there for about 10 minutes considering things and drifted off to sleep only to be awakened by a strong urge to get out of bed (that was God giving me a good kick in the behind!). I couldn’t ignore that! So I got out of bed and changed but I didn’t work out. I got things ready for the kids to go to school, I dropped off one son and then came home to workout. It was a struggle. I could go through the details of my thought process but in the end, knowing it was a quick 30 minute weight workout got me to do it.
I just knew that I needed to do something different so I could feel different. I don’t know if I’m going to avoid eating junk today but I know that as of 9 am this morning I already feel better about myself since I exercised. I am hopeful that this is one thing positive that I can do to counter the negative I’ve been feeling. I am hoping that this one thing will be the start of many more to come today and that as a result I will eventually allow myself to be completely open to the God who has been nothing but faithful, patient, kind and loving to me.
I’m on my way to letting my light shine.
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16